Symposium To Explore Federal Right to Education

UVA President Jim Ryan ’92 To Moderate Panel
Kimberly Robinson and “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy”

Photo by Julia Davis, Illustration by Warren Craghead

February 6, 2020

A symposium to be held at the University of Virginia School of Law on April 2 will explore whether the United States should recognize a federal right to education and what that would look like.

Two panels of scholars and other experts will discuss issues raised by UVA Law professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson’s new book, “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy.” The event kicks off in Caplin Pavilion with remarks by Dean Risa L. Goluboff and Robinson, followed by a panel moderated by UVA President James E. Ryan ’92. The volume, edited by Robinson, includes articles from leading education scholars.

In Robinson’s view, federal intervention is a must because states have failed to address the educational opportunity gap for K-12 students.

“We set [children] up for failure, generation after generation,” she said.

Her first book, “The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity,” was co-edited with Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree Jr. and published in  2015 by Harvard Education Press.

Robinson is the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor of Law, and a professor of education at the Curry School of Education & Human Development.

Box lunches will be served, and a reception will follow. The event, sponsored by the Law School, is open to the public and parking is available in D2 lots.


Caplin Pavilion

1 p.m.

Panel 1 | Should the United States Recognize a Federal Right to Education?

  • Peggy Cooper Davis, John S. R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics; Director, Experiential Learning Lab; New York University School of Law
  • Rachel F. Moran, Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law and Dean Emerita, UCLA School of Law
  • Jason P. Nance, University Term Professor, Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Associate Director for Education Law and Policy, Center on Children and Families; University of Florida Levin College of Law
  • Eloise Pasachoff, Professor of Law, Agnes N. Williams Research Professor, Associate Dean for Careers, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Moderator: James E. Ryan ’92, President, George M. Kaufman Presidential Professor, Professor of Law, Professor of Education, University of Virginia

3:15 p.m.

Panel 2 | How the United States Can Recognize and Define a Right to Education

  • Derek W. Black, Professor of Law, Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law, University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Carmel Martin, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education; Former Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Kimberly J. Robinson, Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law; Professor of Education, UVA Curry School of Education & Human Development
  • Joshua Weishart, Professor of Law and Policy, West Virginia University College of Law
  • Moderator: Timothy Lovelace ’06, Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Visiting Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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